CAPE TOWN, March 29 (Xinhua) -- Chinese and South African parliamentarians met here on Thursday to exchange views on ways of strengthening cooperation between the two countries.
It was the second meeting under the regular exchange mechanism between the South African National Assembly (NA) and the National People's Congress (NPC) of China, a product of a memorandum of understanding signed in 2006 aimed at strengthening relations and promoting exchanges between the two sides.
Hua Jianmin, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC, said Sino-South African relations continuously reached new levels since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1998.
Bilateral ties have developed from partnership to strategic partnership and from strategic partnership to comprehensive strategic partnership, Hua said. He said the NPC and the South African National Assembly have played a positive role in pushing forward friendly exchanges and pragmatic cooperation between the two countries.
The South African National Assembly Deputy Speaker Nomaindia Mfeketo said high level exchanges between the two parliaments form an important part of bilateral cooperation and are complementary to inter-government high-level contacts.
The role played by the two parliaments "is irreplaceable," she said, adding that the exchanges and relations between the Legislatures are growing from strength to strength every year.
"I believe this is for the good of our people," she said.
This meeting followed a visit to China by Mfeketo in 2011, where she proposed the strengthening of the NPC and NA partnership through practical programs such as youth development programs and skills development as topics for future engagements.
Mfeketo was joined by Chairpersons of different National Assembly Portfolio Committees who provided detailed information of different proposed programs and projects.
Mfeketo spoke at length about the infrastructure plan announced by President Jacob Zuma in the NA during the State of the Nation Address in February.
She called for support in the multi-billion-rand projects, saying: "We look forward to your support and investment in these infrastructure projects."
Last year, Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC, visited South Africa and a suggestion was made about a Joint Planning Committee on infrastructure with South Africa, Mfeketo said. "We welcome the suggestion and look forward to working together in this regard," she added.